The threat from the pink corner

David M Livermore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

86 Citations (Scopus)


In terms of numbers of isolates, the greatest present resistance problems arise with gram-positive pathogens (which stain purple/black in Gram's method), especially methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). But, is the MRSA problem -- by its size -- blinding us to something ultimately more dangerous: the slow emergence of gram-negative pathogens (which stain pink) with resistance to all reliable antibiotics? Although presently rare, 'pan-resistant' gram-negative bacteria -- predominantly strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii- have more comprehensive resistance than any gram-positive pathogen. They already pose treatment problems in compromised hospital patients, especially in specialist units, as well in particular groups, such as cystic fibrosis patents. Disturbingly, there is a near-total lack of developmental antibiotics active against gram-negative pathogens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-234
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2003

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